A Mother's Day that was supposed to include a surprise outing with her children turned tragic Sunday for Melissa Bosley, when her eldest child was killed by gunfire in Buffalo's University District.
Samantha Cothran, a 23-year-old college graduate who was working as a certified pharmacy technician while continuing studies toward an advanced degree in pharmacology, was fatally shot in the 600 block of Minnesota Avenue.
Cothran was at a house party with a younger sister when the random shots rang out.
Also struck was Joshua Parker, who was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition with a chest wound late Sunday.
Buffalo police recovered eight shell casings at the scene as evidence.
Cothran was a 2011 graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., where she had earned an academic scholarship and played for four years on the women's basketball team. She also was a 2007 graduate of Nardin Academy.
Bosley was still struggling to come to grips with the reality of her daughter's death.
"I'm just hoping it's a dream, but I know it's not," she said. "I just want to see her."
Cothran worked as a pharmacy technician at the Rite-Aid pharmacy on Main Street and Fillmore Avenue, where just last week she was promoted to full time, according to her mother.
Cothran also was continuing to study pharmacology at D'Youville College, with the goal of becoming a pharmacist. She celebrated her birthday Friday.
The shooting happened at about 1:15 a.m.
Bosley received a call from another daughter who was at the scene with Cothran when she was shot. The daughter told Bosley to hurry up.
"She said, 'Ma, they put a white sheet over her,' " Bosley recalled. "I said, 'No, they didn't.' "
Bosley said she didn't have any further information about what happened.
Cothran and her siblings had planned to spend Mother's Day with Bosley, but they didn't tell her what they would be doing.
"All they told me was not to work on Mother's Day," said Bosley, who is a dietary aide at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Buffalo General Hospital.
In addition to her mother, Cothran is survived by her father, Samuel Cothran; three sisters; a brother and a stepsister.